Rhetoric

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MCC204 Public Relations Contemporary Approaches: Assignment 1 Introduction – Public relations theories and impact on strategies

Strategy helps us to identify the approaches to take in researching, planning and carrying out activities in order to obtain the best results. It also determines the most effective manner to communicate with an organization’s stakeholders. Strategies are guidelines consisting of planned actions and program components. Public relations practitioners have to analyze situations and conceptualize appropriate strategies to better the organization’s public relations position in the eyes of its stakeholders. In order to identify the appropriate strategy to use, public relations practitioners fall back on the four key theories of public relations – discourse, rhetorical, ethical and critical. These theories help in defining the public relations plan and strategy by assisting in evaluating, examining, planning and performing public relations activities such as gaining publicity, providing entertainment, disseminating information and developing national public information campaigns. Depending on the outcome the organization hopes to achieve and its current circumstances, professionals would seek to apply the most appropriate theory applicable to their situation. Rhetorical theory

Rhetoric is defined as the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing. (Online Oxford Dictionaries, 2012) Rhetorical theory, examines the various methods in which language, signs or symbols are carefully selected and organized by the practitioner to produce persuasive and meaningful messages in order to better the organization’s position in the eyes of its publics. (Toth, 1992) The practitioner uses persuasion to soften hostile opinions during crisis management; reinforce latent opinions and positive attitudes and behaviors as well as maintain such favorable opinions. (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber & Shin, 2011) This approach explores and analyses the effects of those texts on different groups of people to achieve the most ideal results. There are three main types of rhetoric - ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos, also known as ethical appeal, focuses on the credibility of the source of information such as trustworthiness and character of the speaker or writer. Therefore, it is necessary for speakers and writers to be consistent with their messages, show integrity and also be experts in the field that are talking about. In addition, different media channels also affect the ethos of a message. For example, broadsheet papers are generally viewed as more credible source of information than tabloids as tabloids tend to be more irreverent and “slangy” in their writing styles compared to the more serious broadsheets. Pathos is associated with persuading by appealing to the senses and emotions of their target audience. The message aims to invoke emotions by appealing to the imagination and sympathies of people. In order for an organization to use pathos in its communications, it must first consider its target audience in order to appeal to their interest. Furthermore, audience participation also evokes a sense of emotional appeal as it allows the target market to actualize their beliefs through participation and engagement. Logos is the art of persuasion through structured and logical reasoning. Logos uses logical appeal to persuade its audiences with suitable arguments to support its claim. In public relations, the consistency and clarity of the message to its intended audience are the most persuasive. In current times, we have moved beyond texts to visuals. As such, visual rhetoric also plays an important role in public relations as a picture speaks a thousand words. Visuals when used with texts and messages are most effective when they deliver a consistent message. Analysis of the use of rhetoric by FEMEN

FEMEN is a Ukrainian social activist group; founded in 2008 by Anna Hutsol and it comprises of mainly female university...
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